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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Gordon Laing, October 2007

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 gallery

The following images were taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18. The FZ18 was set to 8M Fine JPEG mode with Auto White Balance, Multiple metering and the Standard Colour mode; the four Picture Adjustment options were set to their default zero positions.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset.

The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Landscape: 3.51MB, Program, 1/400, f7.1, ISO 100, 4.6-82.8mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  Our first sample image was taken on a very bright day with the FZ18 zoomed-out to wide angle and set to 100 ISO. As such this represents perfect conditions.

The crops are reasonably detailed, although pixel peepers will notice texturing through noise which is a concern at 100 ISO.

We are however pleased to note there's no visible fringing in this shot, despite the high contrast of the boat deck. The FZ18's optics keep fringing under check.
     


Landscape: 3.59MB, Program, 1/400, f7.1, ISO 200, 4.6-82.8mm at 43mm (equivalent to 262mm)

    Here we've zoomed in about halfway through the FZ18's range and taken this shot of a moving boat as it came into dock. The sensitivity was increased to 200 ISO.

The FZ18 can focus quickly and had no problems locking onto the subject even when zoomed-in to 262mm.

The crops reveal texturing from noise again, although it's not significantly worse than at 100 ISO.
     
   
     
   


Portrait: 3.78MB, Aperture Priority, 1/1000, f3.6, ISO 200, 4.6-82.8mm at 35mm (equivalent to 213mm)

  For this portrait shot we zoomed-into 213mm and selected a large aperture in aperture priority mode.

As you'd hope this has thrown the background out of focus, and if you want more, just stand back and zoom-in further.

Again noise is quite visible in the crops from this 200 ISO sample, but there's still lots of detail.
     


Landscape: 3.76MB, Program, 1/500, f8, ISO 200, 4.6-82.8mm at 82.8mm (equivalent to 504mm)

  This photo was taken with the FZ18 fully zoomed-into it's equivalent of 504mm.

Many super-zooms can become quite soft and exhibit bad fringing when full zoomed-in, but impressively the FZ18 suffers from neither.

The crops show some softness, but mostly due to noise. Those bright white boats are fringe-free though and the stabilisation made the composition easy.
     


Macro: 3.88MB, Program, 1/30, f2.8, ISO 400, 4.6-82.8mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  From maximum zoom to the FZ18's closest focusing distance: an impressive 1cm.

It's possible to almost touch your subject with the FZ18 and still keep it in focus, and this allows for some dramatic macro shots.

We increased the sensitivity to 400 ISO here and noise is certainly visible, but again it's not a big drop from earlier samples.
     


Indoor: 3.52MB, Program, 1/40, f2.8, ISO 400, 4.6-82.8mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  The first of our higher-sensitivity indoor shots was taken at 400 ISO.

Like the previous sample, noise is quite visible in the crops viewed at 100%, but there's still a respectable amount of detail present.

There's also quite a large depth of field with the lens zoomed-out even with the aperture wide open.
     


Indoor: 3.81MB, Program, 1/15, f2.8, ISO 800, 4.6-82.8mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)

 

Our second high-sensitivity indoor shot was taken at 800 ISO. There's an inevitable increase in noise and smearing through noise reduction, but as the crops show, there's still some detail remaining.

We've certainly seen worse, but no-one would pretend the FZ18 is a camera for people who like to examine images at 100%. And shooting at 800 ISO is best reserved for smaller prints.

The good news is the stabilisation helped keep the photo sharp at slower exposures.

     


Indoor: 3.81MB, Program, 1/125, f3.2, ISO 1600, 4.6-82.8mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  Our final high sensitivity indoor shot was taken with the FZ18 set to 1600 ISO, and there's a significant increase in noise and loss of detail over the previous samples.

Noise isn't only visible in the 100% crops, but even in the main reduced image. 1600 ISO really is for emergency use only, and even then we'd encourage trying to use 800 ISO or below.

Once again while the FZ18 has many good qualities including an excellent lens, its sensor is not suitable for the pixel peepers among us.
     

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All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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